Timing is everything, Facebook have known this since their inception, and their philosophy of acting quickly and being first has struck once again. They’ve launched ‘Facebook for Business’ in an effort to help companies set up a business profile on the leading social network.
Now cast your minds back a week, Google+ announced they were working on ways to improve their business services [See: Google+ to Launch Verified Accounts and Business Profiles]. But in the mean time have stopped or taken off company profiles on its up and coming social network. Great news for Facebook, or is it?
Whilst this represents a bit of a coup for the leading social network, the actual Facebook for Business service doesn’t actually offer anything new. No new features, no new services, just a central hub compiling all the information on the existing services a business should use on their Facebook Profile.
Facebook’s stance is that all businesses and brands should take advantage of “the most powerful type of marketing – word of mouth” as expressed by a Facebook spokesperson, revealed by Reuters. Google aren’t exactly suggesting businesses and brands shouldn’t take advantage of their new social network, but they have asked that whilst they develop and implement official pages with lots more innovative features, brands and businesses should hold fire for the time being.
On the surface this is good timing for Facebook, and it’s not the first time they’ve timed an announcement off the back of one from Google+. Their deal with Skype and new video services was timed a week or so after Google+ was launched with its unique ‘Hangouts’ feature which allows multiple and group video chats.
However, for every time Google+ announces a development or change, it appears Facebook are there ready to pounce. This time with something that’s not even that concrete, and one could argue their deal with Skype (which only allows one-to-one video chats at the moment) isn’t a patch on what Google Hangouts can offer.
So what does this mean? Are Facebook running scared? Constantly looking over their shoulder to see what the new social network is doing. Well it appears so, but for Google, who have had years to develop their service, they really should have seen this coming.
I’ve no doubt that once Google+’s business profiles are up and running they will provide unique and fantastic services for any brand or business, the problem is competing with a fully established social media network such as Facebook. In other words, their business profiles need to be better than what Facebook are offering, or else the social media success barometer will be firmly pointing towards Facebook.